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Project ID: ICA3-CT-2002-10006
Finanziato nell'ambito di: FP5-INCO 2
Paese: Jordan

D08.1 Case Study Report (Jordan): The Gulf of Aqaba is Jordan's only outlet to the sea. It is one of the two northward branches of the Red Sea, bordered by four states

The Gulf of Aqaba is one of the two northward branches to the Red Sea, shared between four countries, namely; Egypt from the west, Saudi Arabia from the east and Jordan and Israel to north. The Gulf is a semi-enclosed body of water with 180 Km long and width that ranges from 26Km in the middle to about 6 Km at its southern mouth at the strait of Tiran. The water depth in the Gulf can reach a maximum of 1828 m with an average depth of 800m. The usual features are due to the fact that the Gulf is situated in the middle of the Syria-Africa Rift Valley, which extents from the Ghab Valley in Syria to the Rift Valley of East Africa passing through the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, Wadi Araba and the Gulf of Aqaba.

The semi enclosed characteristics of the Gulf of Aqaba have led to its rich biodiversity. The Gulf hosts an extraordinary diversity of coral and related marine life.

However the Gulf shows limited water exchange with the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. The residence time for shallow water is one to two years, while the lower mass of water experiences a three year average residence time. Also the semi enclosed nature of the environment of the Gulf of Aqaba causes the sea to particularly susceptible to pollution. Marine pollution sources include urbanization, industrialization, aquatic tourism, oil spills, solid waste, waste oil contamination, phosphate dust, air pollution from land transportation, chemical pollution from industries, thermal pollution from power plant, return flow from irrigation, pollution of the shallow, brackish water aquifer and sewage from the municipal sewage treatment ponds. If these activities are not controlled in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner environmental degradation will worsen.

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